ROCHESTER, N.Y. — President Joe Biden will deliver his State of the Union Address this Thursday. When he does, U.S. Rep. Claudia Tenney will be watching with the family of a Western New York man, Ryan Corbett, who's been held captive by the Taliban for 19 months

Tenney invited Anna Corbett and her children as her honorary guests, hoping to place more pressure on the government to advocate for his safe return home to his family. 

What You Need To Know

  • Ryan Corbett has been wrongfully detained by the Taliban for 19 months
  • His family has recieved four calls totaling in 42 minutes, and one picture of him since he's been gone
  • Congresswoman Claudia Tenney lead a bipartisan resolution last month that has received more than 70 signatures from law makers across the country
  • Rep. Tenney has invited Corbett's wife and children to be her honorary guests at President Biden's State of the Union address on Thursday
  • They're hoping the Corbett family's presence will increase pressure on the government to prioritize Ryan's immediate release

“It’s pretty terrifying. I feel like a nobody, and yet I have these amazing champions like Congresswoman Tenney,” Corbett said. 

“It’s just she’s done such a remarkable job suffering through the anguish that I’m sure she’s internally suffering from every day, and to keep herself going for her children. And her children are thriving and doing great, and I think that’s a testament to Anna and obviously her love for Ryan," Tenney said about Anna Corbett’s bravery. 

Corbett and her children have spoken to him four times for a total of 42 minutes, and have received one picture since he’s been held captive.

This will be Corbett’s ninth trip to Washington D.C. since going public about her husband’s situation. During her last trip, Tenney led a bipartisan resolution calling for Ryan Corbett’s immediate release. The resolution has received more than 70 signatures from lawmakers across the country. 

“It’s amazing that there are 70 co-sponsors on this resolution to call for Ryan’s immediate release. And I’m just really grateful going into this. I don’t feel alone,” Corbett explained. “As momentum picks up, I really hope that this kind of a cumulative effort is showing the administration that so many here across the United States and our concern for Ryan and our family and want to see as little physical and emotional damage to him.” 

Rep. Tenney says it’s something people on both sides of the aisle have been able to agree on. 

“I think what’s done more than anything has Brought awareness and pressure on the Afghan government, the Taliban, to realize that this is becoming a national, international story. So people from all across the country have co-sponsored this resolution. And so, by doing that, we’re hoping that we can get some more awareness, more pressure, and get them to let Ryan come home, because obviously there are people who have been released who are being detained, and we want Ryan to get that same justice and be able to return home,” she said.

There’s power in numbers. Corbett hopes that will continue during her upcoming visit to the Capitol. 

“Anna, I have good news for you. Did you know? Spencer just texted me. We have four seats for you,” Tenney shared. 

“Really? Ketsia can come too?” Corbett smiled at the news that all three of her children will have seats at President Biden’s State of the Union on Thursday. 

Tenney says it’s an uncommon occurrence to be able to invite so many guests. Corbett and her kids will be able to put on a united front at the Capitol to represent the husband and father that they miss so much. 

“They’re a great support and they show everything that Ryan has a family that misses him and that needs him, and everyone has seen how much they’ve grown since this started. Ryan is going to hardly recognize them and that’s really sad,” Corbett said.

She explains her husband has already missed so much. Both of her oldest daughters have started to drive, Ryan turned 40 years old in Taliban detention and the couple recently celebrated 20 years of marriage while an ocean separates them.

After going 19 months without much sunlight, or nutrition, the family is hoping for the best. 

“I just want the administration to prioritize this, to bring it to a resolution, take the next step. I’m concerned that this is dragging on. It’s been too long. It’s almost 19 months and we need to bring this to a closure and bring Ryan home,” Corbett explained. 

Her congresswoman agrees. 

“My biggest concern and my worry is we’re running out of time, and Ryan’s health is probably deteriorating. And we don’t, we just don’t have any idea what that is, and we want to make sure that we get him home safely and as healthy a condition as we can so he can resume his life with his family,” Tenney explained. “I think the more people the know about it, the more people will stand up and recognize that this is a priority and it’s going to happen.”